Trying to listen to conservatives
I don’t, often. That’s because conservative/right wing/Republican thought has been, in my lifetime, so filled with hypocrisy and religiosity and virulent racism, that I just figured – okay, no point in making an attempt to understand where they’re coming from.
But ya know, while my life experience confirms my reasons for disdain for this kind of thinking, which so often seems but a thin mask for white supremacy, I had a minute, so decided to do some listening.
First up: this podcast episode from the excellent show ‘Our Body Politic’ produced by Farai Chaideya
Listening to the guest, Ms. Cabrera, describe her background and why she clings to Republican politics, was surreal. It’s like there’s an empty space where human empathy should be. It’s like she floated, content, on the surface of right-wing thought, and couldn’t even crack open the door to admit that other people might see it differently. She started out liking Reagan. And right there, that requires a blindness to the racist, plastic figurehead he really was. The fact that it was Black people and gay people and others who weren’t of her tribe who suffered at his hands was irrelevant. I have to hand it to Ms. Chideya: she did push back gently, but mostly she let Ms. Cabrera incriminate herself.
Then, I picked up on this 538 interview:
I’m not normally a big 538 fan because of their lack of Black voices. Ms. Chideya talks about working at 538 here and it’s certainly not a place I’d invest my time:
But I’ll use 538 as a resource when there’s something worth considering. Listening to ‘Where does the Republican Party go from here?’ reinforced my sense that there is an innate callousness in right-wing thought. Henry Olsen clearly prides himself on being a data guy, yet at the same time, he promulgates the big lie that poor misunderstood right-wingers feel that their religion, for example, is not respected enough. What America does that guy live in? You can’t get away from the Christian religion in America. It pervades supposedly secular life like perpetually enraged kudzu.
At least Pres. Biden, in his approach to religion, has the self-awareness and grace to say that he doesn’t speak for others, but prayer works for him. I can respect that. But I don’t respect the constant hum of faux victimized right-wingers, whinging about the fact that everyone isn’t them, and enraged that they need to share a country with people who don’t think religion is important. I have so little respect for their complaining: tt’s performative nonsense that sometimes turns lethal.
So, that was my attempt to listen to ‘the other side’ – not the raving lunatic right (no time to waste on them), but the ones who can speak in reasonable tones so that you can actually hear the message and judge for yourself. The US is in whitelash trouble, and mainstream white Americans need to wake up and take their local racists out of power, besides voting Democratic up and down the ticket. The ugliness will not go away on its own, because it’s been ignored for too long. Now, the racism, sexism and general allergy to the truth has to be exposed, and taken out of power. Everywhere.
And I’m not the only one who gets it: